TOPICAL ISSUE: BUSA PRESENTS TO NMW PANEL ON MINIMUM WORKING HOURS
The week under review saw flight and service interruptions for travelers by SAA due to industrial action undertaken by the carrier’s cabin crew. Although the industrial action was swiftly brought to an end by a court interdict, it does shine the light on one of the complex issues that employers and employees often have to grapple with – the issue of decent pay for decent work – particularly in the current difficult economic climate.
BUSA continues to pay attention to this issue, particularly in line with the commitment to conduct further analysis and research on the issue of the National Minimum Wage. Its National Minimum Wage (NMW) task team recently made submissions to the NMW Panel, raising the following views:
- That the regulation of minimum hours was not recommended due to extensive variations in minimum hours based on collective agreements, sectoral determinations and individual contracts of employment;
- That the NMW was not intended to regulate hours of work and the scope shouldn’t be extended;
- That considerations must be given in instances where the employer pays for transport, or where the employee resides at the premises. Short time work agreements should also be considered
- That current contracts of employment based on individual and collective agreements should not be destabilised
- That future forms and types of work, with multiple employers, should not be constrained by minimum hours of work provisions. The impact on jobs should also be carefully considered.
Furthermore, the NMW Panel also considered submissions from organised Labour, who recommended 6 hours per day as the minimum working hours to qualify for the minimum wage, and Government, who suggested a compromise of 5 hours. We will keep members updated on further developments on this important issue.